Pays-de-la-Loire tourist and vacation guide

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Pays-de-la-Loire is a remarkable region of fascinating towns and villages with wonderful ancient buildings, narrow streets and cobbled alleyways. It has a stunning coastline, and a wealth of restaurants serving local seafood and fine wines.

For the energetic tourists there are family walks, cycling, riding, and sailing. In fact, the Pays de la Loire has everything you could need to enjoy a wonderful vacation.

Things to do in Pays-de-la-Loire

Some of the highlights in this most attractive of regions include: the Abbaye Royale de Fontevraud, the Le Mans 24 hour race, the beaches of Vendée, the Loire chateaux, and a glorious hinterland.

Keep your children entertained while you enjoy yourself at the Puy du Fou Theme Park; or visit the Carolingian Palace at Mayenne.

Don’t forget the prehistoric caves at Saulges, the 11th-century city of Sainte-Suzanne, or enjoy a bit of river cruising without the crowds.

For a really relaxing day, take a boat trip in the Parc Naturel Régional Brière (La Grande Brière), a 20,000-hectare area of peatland, reed beds, floodplains, canals, lagoons and watercourses. As a natural park it’s second in importance only to the Camargue.

Visit Le Mans. It is so much more than just a venue for a motor race. It is a beautiful town and a great base from which to explore the department of Sarthe. And you simply must see the Fleche Zoo. Read our guide: Things to do in Le Mans.

Where is Pays-de-la-Loire?

The Pays-de-la-Loire region is in the north-west of France, and, as its name suggests, ranges along the valley of the Loire river.

A view of the Loire river

It has a coastline, facing out into the Atlantic, but is otherwise bordered by Brittany, Normandy, Centre and Poitou-Charentes, and embraces at total area of 32,082 sq km (12,387 sq miles).

A diverse and thriving area the Pays de la Loire is one of the original 27 regions of France. It was created in the late 20th century to serve as a zone of influence for its capital, Nantes, one of a handful of so-called “balancing metropolises” (métropoles d’équilibre).

Other examples of “artificially created” regions include Rhône-Alpes, which was created as the region for Lyon, and Midi-Pyrénées, which was created as the region for Toulouse.

Since then changes have been effected that reduced, with effect from 1st January 2016, the number of regions to thirteen. Pays de la Loire was not affected by this change.

The Pays de la Loire is among the leading regions in France in economic development, and is a diverse and thriving area, home to countless entrepreneurs and boasts an extensive rail, road and air network.

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